The end of the year is closing in and that means the holidays are here. Charleston is a delightful spot to spend this season with our beautiful scenery and mild weather. It’s not uncommon to enjoy a 70-degree high on Christmas Day!
To make sure you get the most out of this joyful – and busy — time of year, we’ve compiled Charleston’s top holiday activities for November and December. Get out there and enjoy your city and spread some holiday cheer!
Holiday Festival of Lights, Nov. 14-Jan. 1
A longtime Charleston tradition, the James Island County Park Holiday Festival of Lights brightens the night West of the Ashley with more than 750 light displays and family-friendly activities. While there are plenty of traditional holiday icons to see, the park also has many displays that are specific to Charleston. Keep an eye out for Rainbow Row, the Ravenel Bridge, horse-drawn carriages, sea life and more. Be sure to hop out of your car and enjoy activities including train rides, roasting marshmallows, old fashioned carousel and charming walking trail.
Progressive Dinner and Dickens Dinner, Select Dates Nov. 28-Dec. 23
Downtown restaurant Circa 1886, located at the historic Wentworth Mansion, hosts several fun holiday dinners. Their annual Progressive Dinner, now in its 19th year, takes you to three different dinner locations by horse-drawn carriage. Enjoy a different dinner course at each of three charming inns, including Circa 1886 and the Wentworth Mansion. ‘
On Dec. 10 and 11, celebrate your holiday Dickens style with their classic Dickens Dinner. Storyteller Tim Lowry retells A Christmas Carol while you dine on a four-course Victorian-style meal inspired by the novel.
Charleston Christmas Special, Dec. 5-21
Another favorite of Charlestonians is the Charleston Christmas Special, a musical revue of song and dance at the Charleston Music Hall. Guests will be entertained with performances of O Holy Night, Angels We Have Heard on High, the Hallelujah Chorus and even I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas! New this year is a dinner and show ticket option that includes a three-course dinner at Vincent Chicco’s next door to the Music Hall.
Christmas Tree Lighting at Marion Square, Dec. 6
Head to downtown’s Marion Square to see Charleston’s Christmas tree lit up to kick off the season. The ceremony takes place from 4:30-6 p.m., but get there as early as 9 a.m. to enjoy a festive holiday market in the square for authentic Charleston holiday gifts. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance several days later on December 12 and 19 accompanied by live entertainment and family activities.
Holiday Dinner Cruise, Select Dates Nov. 29-Dec. 27
It wouldn’t be right to go through the holidays in Charleston without some nod to the water. The Holiday Dinner Cruise with Charleston Harbor Tours is the perfect way to celebrate seaside aboard the Carolina Queen. The two-hour cruise of the harbor includes a gourmet buffet holiday dinner and live music, featuring holiday favorites and Gullah spirituals from The Plantation Singers. Board at 6:30 p.m. and the cruise runs from 7-9 p.m.
These are just a few of the holiday activities taking place in the Lowcountry throughout November and December. For a complete list, visit the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau events listing.
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